With the approaching Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, new technologies are under active development. Such technological development is frequently covered on television, in newspapers, and other forms of mass media. In particular, newspapers provide detailed information on such topics, making them a good source for obtaining Paralympic-related information. By analyzing newspaper coverage of Paralympic related technological trends, this article presents a concrete direction of future technological development to companies promoting research and development, athletes using such new technologies, and other entities and individuals.
This analysis is conducted in four steps. (1) “Setting of analysis method” considers the method used for analyzing technological trends. (2) “Setting of objects of analysis and analysis period” considers the newspapers and period under analysis, and (3) “Data collection and noise removal” considers the data collecting method and the noise removal method for extracting analysis data from the collected data. (4) “Conducting of analysis” is performed based on the above three steps.
The specific analysis method used is text mining, which is a quantitative analysis method that involves analyzing the textual structure of newspaper articles and other kinds of text data to derive beneficial knowledge and information from them. In relation to this method, this article uses the co-occurrence network that enables the visualization of textual structure. The newspapers under analysis are the Yomiuri Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun, the two most widely-circulated newspapers in Japan with 8.5 million and 5.95 million morning issues, respectively. As Tokyo was chosen as the host city of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in September 2013, this article considers the changes that occurred from 2008 to 2018, covering the five years before and after 2013.
It shows that groups including technology-related vocabulary numbered six in 2008, eight in 2013, and six in 2018. Texts including technology-related vocabulary numbered 147 in 2008, 106 in 2013, and 314 in 2018. The reason why the technology related vocabulary groups did not increase despite the increase in texts in 2018 is presumed to be because the rules of illustration had changed. It may have been easier to grasp trends by increasing the upper limit of the volume of vocabulary for 2018. The reason why the number of texts declined in 2013 compared to 2008 is likely due to the Beijing Paralympic Games being held in 2008, while the Paralympics were not held in 2013.
Next, this article considers Paralympic-related technological trends. As mentioned above, a wide range of technological topics received newspaper coverage from 2008 to 2018. With regard to Paralympic-related technological trends derived from the analysis of newspaper coverage, it can be observed that the technologies that appeared in 2013 and 2018 were not only intended for Paralympians. Articles on the sophistication of prosthetic legs and wheelchairs used in the Paralympics appeared in 2013 and 2018 as well. In other words, newspaper articles concerning Paralympic related technology did not only cover the spread of such technology but also mentioned how prosthetic legs and wheelchairs were becoming more sophisticated.
The fact that such topics are covered in general interest newspapers suggests that the Paralympics and Paralympic-related technology are becoming more familiar to the public.